I'm building a virtualised grid in JS/HTML and finding browser performance with large grids fairly slow, particularly in IE10/11. The following jsfiddle roughly represents my worst case scenario, approx 1000 cells:


function test(count) {
var self = window;
var limit = 25;

if (count < limit) {
    //settimeout to give ui chance to render
    setTimeout(function () {
    }, 0);

if (count >= limit) {
    alert((1000 / ((performance.now() - self.startTime) / limit)) + " fps");

function render(count) {
for (var x = 0; x < this.cellCount; x++) {
    this.cells[x].textContent = count + " _c_" + x;

window.render = render;

$().ready(function () {
var self = window;

self.cellCount = 1000;
self.cells = [];
self.grid = document.createElement("div");
self.grid.style.position = "relative";
self.grid.style.height = "100%";
self.grid.style.overflow = "hidden";

for (var c = 0; c < cellCount; c++) {
    var cell = document.createElement("div");

    cell.style.width = "49px";
    cell.style.height = "24px";
    cell.style.padding = "10px";
    cell.style.position = "absolute";
    cell.style.overflow = "hidden";
    cell.style.borderTop = "1px solid lightgray";
    cell.style.borderLeft = "1px solid lightgray";
    cell.style.backgroundColor = "whitesmoke";
    cell.style.left = (c % 28) * 50 + "px";
    cell.style.top = (Math.floor(c / 28) * 25) + "px";
    cell.className = cell.className += " test_cell";

    var span = document.createElement("span");




self.startTime = performance.now();
self.count = 0;
self.totalTime = 0;

<div id="grid" style="width: 1500px; height: 900px"></div>

 .test_cell {
 text-align: right;
 font: 8pt Segoe UI, Tahoma, Arial, Verdana;
 width: 49px;
 height: 24px;
 border-left: 1px solid lightgray;
 border-top: 1px solid lightgray;
 position: absolute;
 overflow: hidden;

I get around 10fps in IE at full screen, and around 30 in Chrome, assuming my performance measurement code is correct, it is consistent with the fps tools in Chrome so I think it is.

So far I've tried different methods of DOM manipulation - building a HTML string of the whole grid and inserting into the DOM (slower), using DOM fragments (slower), using a table instead of an array of absolute divs (slower), various ways of setting the span's content - innerHTML, textContent etc (made little difference), using different fonts/sizes (no difference).

Based on profiling I suspect that the majority of the time is painting rather than any java script code so I think any large improvements would like come from optimising the HTML/CSS so it is quicker to render, but any suggestions/modifications would be hugely appreciated.

If it makes any difference I am not targeting older browser versions.


1 Answer 1


First off, your code doesn't seem very optimal. This doesn't effect the speed as far as I can see, but does effect the readability, which may limit the help you get here.

  • Why do you create a second div inside #grid?
  • Why do you assign the styles of the cells twice (inline to the style attribute and a second time via the class)?
  • Why are you using a class at all? A selector such as `#grid > div > div' would be easier.

Here is the simplified code I used: http://jsfiddle.net/jJa8L/2/

Some experimentation show for me that the biggest speed hog seems to be the absolute positioning. When I comment it out, then I get speed improvements of 30 to 50% (40-45 fps) in Chrome. I haven't had a chance to try it out, but I'd try using a table layout (either using a <table> directly in the HTML, or using display: table-* in the CSS).

EDIT: I just discovered one certain optimization: Moving the font property from the class to more global rule (body or #grid), raises the fps in Chrome to 35-38. See http://jsfiddle.net/jJa8L/3/

EDIT 2: Ok, here's a version with table layout: http://jsfiddle.net/jJa8L/4/ It's still at 40-45 fps.

EDIT 3: No idea why I didn't think of this before: Simply let the cells flow with display: inline-block giving #grid an appriopriate width. http://jsfiddle.net/jJa8L/5/ This is slightly faster (42-47 fps).

EDIT 4: I just had another idea: There is a considerable speed up in Firefox and IE (but not Chrome for some reason) if you hide the grid while updating the cell texts: http://jsfiddle.net/jJa8L/8/

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the reply - the second div is a hangover from another idea but yes it doesn't need to be there in this case. I didn't actually notice I was applying the styles twice so thanks for that. In the final version the column widths/row heights will be variable, which is why I was using absolute positioning. I've tried each of your fiddles and I'm still getting the same results - are you running it with the entire grid visible because that affects the result? \$\endgroup\$
    – nzyme
    Mar 18, 2014 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ That said, the second fiddle seems to get IE up to 15fps from 10 which is a little more respectable. Sadly in the final version I will need different css classes on different cells, so I can't simple do #grid > div. But interesting that that affects the rendering speed so much. \$\endgroup\$
    – nzyme
    Mar 18, 2014 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, I just retested my versions 2 and 5 in Chrome. 2 is actually running faster that I thought (~38 fps), but 5 is still faster at ~46fps. Firefox OTOH only achieves ~10fps in both version. \$\endgroup\$
    – RoToRa
    Mar 19, 2014 at 8:57

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